Millennial Sex and the Corruption of Education

The following article is from the most recent release of Kairos Journal. I encourage every thinking Christian to subscribe to Kairos. It is a thoughtful digest of current issues affecting the Church in the 21’s century.

The editors of Kairos Journal describe their ministry this way:

In our careers and travels, we have witnessed a dramatic decline in the influence of the Church in the West, and accordingly, in the spiritual and moral vitality of our culture. We have had the growing sense that the hope of a people, and of democracy, lies not in elected officials, entrepreneurs, military leaders, academicians, or broadcast personalities. It is based on the faithfulness of her Christian pastors.

One such pastor was André Trocmé, who served a small Protestant church in southern France during the Second World War. Largely because of his preaching and example, the village of Chambon became a haven for Jews escaping Nazi persecution. At great personal risk, he and his congregation hid these refugees until they could flee across the Swiss border. Tutored in the Word, they simply saw rescue as their Christian duty.

Many have heard of William Wilberforce’s efforts in Parliament to abolish the British slave trade. Few, however, know of his spiritual grounding, of his home church in Clapham, England, where he was fortified and inspired by the preaching of John Venn. We dream that a new generation of John Venns would emerge to inspire and instruct a new generation of William Wilberforces.

It is a critical time, a kairos moment. Many say that the West is a “cut flower civilization,” scarcely sustained by the Christian perspectives that once brought her life. The bloom is fading at a shocking rate; we are desperate for spiritual renewal, grounded in Christ and His Word.

We are convinced that the great cause of this day is to embolden, equip, and encourage the pastor in his God-ordained work. For this purpose, we have established the Kairos Journal.

Sincerely,
Emmanuel A. Kampouris

Kairos Journal

I commend their ministry, their hope, and their efforts. May all of us labor with as much intensity as they and may pastors, in particular, be bold to declare the whole truth of God’s word in every area of human endeavor.

The article is like a voice crying in the wilderness of our sex-obsessed culture but it is one we need to hear. The underlined emphasis has been added by me. Two applications for parents:

  1. Your job of parenting is not finished when you send your kids to college. It might be starting all over again.
  2. Pray for your college students. They are being pickled in the juices of a culture that has turned its back on God. That “pickling juice” is in its most undiluted form on the college campuses of this generation.
College, Sex, and Integrity

In March 2005, a group of students at Vermont’s St. Michael’s College had had enough. They decided to challenge the “campus hookup scene” that consisted of sex-saturated spring break getaways and one-night stands.1 “They wanted the right to demand more from their peers when it came to sex and relationships—more joy, more satisfaction, more commitment—and less sex. Maybe even no sex.”2 They started a student newspaper, Dateline SMC, and engaged the relationship between sex and religion, in large part because religion proved to be the only foundation that powerfully challenged the licentious culture these students had come to deplore. “Not because they hoped to convert, but because it helped them to see how something as powerful as religion can hold an entire community accountable in ways that might, in the end, relieve them of all this sexual pressure.”3

It is hard to underestimate the lack of integrity that permeates college campuses today. A former George Washington University student described as routine ambulances picking up intoxicated students.4 It was reported that administrators at the University of Colorado and Florida State promised their sports recruits sex with young women. Sexually explicit theme parties are popular on many college campuses where men dress up as professionals (CEOs, tennis players, professors) and women dress up in hardly anything at all.5,6 Certainly scores of students at secular colleges and universities study without being affected by this hookup culture. Many others are negatively affected.

While individuals of integrity can be found in any and every institution, according to a recent study by Boston University’s Donna Freitas, only evangelical schools actually created a culture of integrity. By-in-large, evangelical students intend for their spirituality to affect their behavior.7 According to Freitas, the same cannot be said of secular institutions or even of Catholic campuses.8 As another author so bluntly put it: “[I]t is only evangelical students who ponder the connections between sexuality and spirituality. Students who identify as Catholic, mainline Protestant, ‘spiritual but not religious,’ or any other religious persuasion tend not to connect their spiritual or religious commitments to their sexual choices.”9

Those students Freitas interviewed who identified themselves as “spiritual” believed they had a strong connection to God but severed this relationship from their sexuality. They believed “sex is a personal choice that each individual must face without reference to religion.”10 Meanwhile, on evangelical campuses, where students shared an identity and common values, when it came to understanding the relationship between faith and sexuality, Freitas described these students as “leaps and bounds ahead” of students at secular and Catholic schools.11 This is certainly reflected in the statistics. Nearly 80% of the respondents at evangelical schools still considered themselves virgins compared to 37% at Catholic schools, 31% at private-secular schools, and just under 19% at public schools.12

Thankfully, there are numerous, solid, Christian students being salt and light at secular universities.13 The point that the concentration of Christians at evangelical schools makes is that these students are committed to living out their faith. Oddly enough, as those students at St. Michaels demonstrate, even secular students are finding themselves admiring what evangelicals have: integrity. It may not be perfect—there is plenty of hypocrisy on evangelical campuses. Sin is everywhere. But because of the gospel, the “hookup culture” has not found its way to these campuses. This is something to which to be thankful.

Footnotes:
1 Donna Freitas, Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), xiv.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., xix.
4 Naomi Schaefer Riley, God on the Quad: How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005), 185.
5 Ibid., 189.
6 Freitas, 144-148.
7 Ibid., 15.
8 Regarding secular or what Freitas called “spiritual” schools because students at these schools identified themselves as “spiritual but not religious”: “Students enrolled at a spiritual college can assume that value will be placed on diversity, an almost unlimited sense of freedom, a work hard/play hard party ethic, and, of course the hookup culture.” Ibid.

Regarding Catholic schools: “In their sexual behaviors and in their attitudes about sex and religion, students at Catholic schools are virtually indistinguishable from those who attend religiously unaffiliated colleges.” Ibid.

Finally, regarding evangelical schools: “Evangelical campus culture is religiously infused on every level, and students assume that their peers are saving themselves for marriage unless to otherwise.” Ibid., 14.

9 Lauren Winner, “Foreword,” Sex and the Soul, viii.
10 Freitas, 20.
11 Ibid., 125.
12 Ibid., 163.
13 See also Kairos Journal article, “A New Sexual Revolution at Princeton University.”

 


One thought on “Millennial Sex and the Corruption of Education

  1. Sometimes it is hard to be optimistic about the future of America given the current situation with our young people.

    Christians when they preach on sexual morality need to understand the real reasons for sexual morality (that is to promote and protect heterosexual monogamous marriage and by extension protect the family as the basic social unit of society). Sadly, with Augustine and others (Jerome) in the late 4th century, a hatred of pleasure and a sexual pessimism crept into Christianity so that even the married state was held in contempt by prelates. Lust, which involves covetousness, came to mean any thing sexual, including sexual arousal and desire (which spouses naturally feel for each other).

    My suggestion is for Christians to instruct our young to save sex for marriage so as to avoid all the harm that is done from pre-marital and extra-marital sex. As well, we should preach from the pulpits the good of the sexual love of the spouses for each other within marriage. Christian husbands and wives can enjoy mutually fulfilling sex within their marriage. There is no shame in that! (As well, the lament of Christian marriage bloggers is that the sin of sexual refusal is not addressed in our churches and needs to be.)

    Liked by 1 person

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